Saturday 8th April, marked the start of the Eggs-ellent Easter event which is running until the 23rd April. During this time there is plenty to see and do including, Easter Trails, Live Shows, Animal Feeds, Thrill Rides and of course Thomas Land. You can print off the Easter Trail prior to your visit, or obtain a copy of guest services on arrival if you don't have access to a printer, and find the answers to the questions whilst making your way around the park. On completion you can hand your sheet into guest services who will reward you with a delicious Easter treat (subject to availability). Very Egg-citing!
We found Drayton Manor easy enough to find, although our sat nav tried to send us down several small lanes. Luckily it was well signposted as we got nearer, so we ignored the sat nav once we had left the motorway and decided that good old common sense would get us there easily enough and it certainly did. The main entrance was clearly visible from the main road, and we began to make our way down the long drive way to the parking area.
There was a large queue of vehicles to get in, and so we were concerned that the park was going to be really busy. We needn't have been worried though, as after the initial car parking queue and ticket queue on arrival, the longest we waited all day was 25 minutes and that was for a ride in Thomas Land. The rest of the time we waited less than 10 minutes and on some occasions walked straight on. The park never felt too crowded at any point either, despite being busy which was fantastic.
Once we had left the carousel, Emma began to jump up and down and point at the large tower located towards the rear of the park. She was feeling extremely brave, and quickly insisted that she must go on the ride called 'Apocalypse', and that I must join her!
We made our way to Apocalypse, and Riley, Ben and Mr F went on the Flying Dutchman ride together whilst waiting for us. As we entered the main ride area, we had the choice of opting for the standing up ride queue, or the seated queue. We both decided that standing up would be far too scary, and so opted for the seated position instead, and were very happy to find a very short line of approximately ten people. This meant that it wasn't long at all before it was our turn. Whilst the tower looks high from the ground, it seems even higher as you are slowly making your way to the top. As we paused for a moment, I wondered to myself why I had agreed to come on with Emma, but I didn't get too long to think, as we were promptly released and the seats plummeted back down at speed towards the ground. I will admit that I screamed the entire way down!
As Emma and Ben had now each been on a ride of their choice, we excitedly took Riley over to Thomas Land. His little face beamed with delight as he began to spot familiar faces from the show and ran round excitedly trying to take everything in. Once he had calmed down and taken a good look around, he decided he wanted to ride on 'Winston's Whistle-Stop Tours' which was an aerial ride that took you along a track all above Thomas Land and gave you a birds eye view of all the rides. We all really enjoyed this, and when the ride came to a stop, Riley had already chosen his next adventure - Bertie Bus!
Bertie Bus had no queue at all, and so we walked straight on. The bus had bench style seating inside, and there is a maximum of one adult allowed per row. The bus then lifts up and moves in a circular motion whilst all the children excitedly cheer as it makes each rotation and it gently gets your tummy (a bit like going over a small hill in a car). This quickly became Riley's favourite ride, and each time we rode on it he got a little bit braver, and by the fourth go, he had his arms raised in the air like a true daredevil! I have to mention the member of staff on this ride who I thought was brilliant. Unfortunately I didn't catch his name, but he was very welcoming and friendly and it was obvious that children's safety was really important to him.
We were very impressed with Thomas Land, the rides were all like miniature versions of bigger rides but accompanied by a Thomas theme and the area was very clean and tidy. There was a wide range of choice for children, and I think if travelling with young kids, you could quite easily spend all day in this area alone. The rides all looked well maintained, and I liked that fact that there were replica engine models located around the rides, to provide you with some photo opportunities.
After Bertie Bus, we climbed onto Lady's Carousel. Again there was no queue, so Riley picked a carriage and I climbed in with him. Ben also decided to join us on this ride, as he enjoys spending time with his little brother. It never bothers him about going on smaller rides, as he just likes to see Riley having fun and spending time with him, which is really lovely.
After visiting the Sodor Classic Cars ride, and Flynn's Fire Rescue, we headed back into the main park area, to find a family ride to enjoy together and so left it down to Emma and Ben to choose.
They both decided on Splash Canyon which is a river rapids ride, and each boat can hold up to 6 people so this made it ideal for us. Foolishly I made a comment in the queue, that people didn't look too wet as they came off the ride, but I mustn't have looked carefully enough as when it came to our turn we got soaked, much to the children's delight!
Splash Canyon was really good, as it started quite gently, and gradually picked up in pace. We did get stuck on one part near the main dip to the faster rapids and ended up bobbing around between the barrels for a short while, but soon enough another boat came along and bumped us back onto course. The kids found this hilarious, and we were soon back on our way getting splashed from all angles. We left the ride soaking wet, but with it being really nice and sunny, we soon dried off in the sunshine, and within minutes Emma and Ben had already began queueing for their next ride which was Air Race.
Air Race is a selection of aeroplanes arranged in a circular formation. On first glance it appears similar to a children's ride, that you would sit in and it goes round in a circle. I then looked on the map and noticed that this was labelled as a thrill ride which confused me. This confusion was soon cleared up however when the ride started and the planes quickly began to move upside down! Whilst moving around in a circle the planes would also spin upside down, slowly at first, suspending riders upside down in the air, before gradually gaining speed and making the rotations much quicker. I was shocked that Ben wanted to ride on this as he doesn't like scary rides unlike Emma, and had certainly never been upside down on one before. I was half expecting him to leave the queue half way through, but much to my surprise he soon boarded his plane and both Emma and Ben screamed with delight as their plane began to rotate. At one point I noticed that Ben had his eyes firmly shut, and I was really worried that he would come off the ride upset. Instead he came off smiling and feeling very proud of himself for tackling his fears and trying a thrill ride. I was very proud of him too, but was also secretly glad when he said he didn't want to go on it again.
After the excitement of the rides so far, we decided to slow things down for a bit, and visit the Zoo where we could grab a drink and have a nice walk around whilst seeing the animals. The first animals we saw were the meerkats, and then opposite this was the reptile house, which was Ben's favourite area. We saw some absolutely massive snakes, as well as some lizards, iguanas and frogs.
After our relaxing walk around the zoo, we headed back to Thomas Land where Riley enjoyed more of the rides, and an obligatory trip to the gift shop, which was stocked to the roof with all things Thomas related.
Riley and I went on Bertie Bus (yes again!) whilst Emma and Ben went over to the Troublesome Trucks Runaway Rollercoaster with their dad. I liked that some of the rides were also suitable for older children, so that there was something for everyone to enjoy.
In terms of dining, there was an ample selection of places to eat, whether it be for small snacks, sweet treats, or a tasty hot meal. There were small snack kiosks in all areas of the park we visited selling drinks, donuts and ice creams, as well as take away options and sit down restaurants including Burger Kitchen, Pizza and Pasta, and Chicken Diner.
We found the facilities to be clean, and there were plenty of toilets and baby changing facilities available throughout the park, so you were never too far away, no matter where you were within the attraction.
Scattered amongst the rides, were numerous 'fairground style' games, where you could win prizes. I was pleased to see many people walking around the park throughout the day carrying jumbo sized teddies, which gave me reassurance that these games can actually be won.
One thing I really liked about Drayton Manor, was how family orientated it was. There really is something for everyone there, and certainly plenty to keep my family and I entertained. Unfortunately we found that we were unable to visit everything in just one day, and so when we return in the future, we will definitely look to purchase a two day ticket and either stay over at their on-site hotel or pitch our tent on their Camping and Caravanning Club Campsite to make a weekend of it.
Overall, we had an absolutely brilliant time, and will definitely be returning again in the summer.
Drayton Manor offers a discounted rate for tickets booked online, and these can be purchased up until midnight the day before you plan to visit. Ticket prices are as follows:
Online (Prebooked) On the day rate
Aged 12-59 £25 £39
Aged 4-11 £20 £29
Aged 60+ £20 £29
Aged 2-3 £7 £7
Under 2's Free Free
Disabled/Carer £20 £20
Expectant Mother £20 £20
4 for £80 £80 N/A
Adult & Toddler £20 £20
After School £10 £10
For more information on the rides, attractions, and full details on entry prices and opening times, then you can visit the Drayton Manor website here: Drayton Manor
You can also find out more by following Drayton Manor on social media and their pages can be found as follows:
Twitter: Drayton Manor Twitter
Facebook: Drayton Manor Facebook Page
Instagram: Drayton Manor Instagram
YouTube: Drayton Manor YouTube Channel
Disclaimer: We received complimentary family admission for the purpose of reviewing Drayton Manor. All opinions and photographs are my own. Prices, opening times, and ride availability was correct at time of writing. I would always suggest visiting the Drayton Manor website prior to visiting in order to obtain the most up to date information.